The Dirty Dirty on Cleanses

Cleanse Detox & Multi-Level Marketing

This is going to be broken down into two parts.  The first is about cleanse detox programs, which will be kept short as I will leave the details to the articles I have linked.  The second part will be informing you about multi-level marketing companies(MLM) and their invasion of the nutrition market with overpriced products being pushed by “soccer” moms and lunk heads.  (All of the MLM companies sell cleanses, hence the tie in.)  I am not getting nutrition or supplementation advice from someone with ZERO background or experience on nutrition, physiology, research, and human performance. The question that you have to ask yourself is, “Do I really need to purchase something to solve my problem?”  I think that as a society, we have to buy something to “support” what we are doing.  Wearable fitness devices for example.  Do you really need a $150 Fitbit to start eating better and taking more steps?  The devices should simply do their job which is collect data.  They shouldn’t be the reason why you are “motivated” to start exercising and eating better.  If ones mindset about food was different(ie 90% of the time, FOOD IS FUEL), we would be healthier and leaner as a country.   More specific to this post, do you really need to purchase a product to 1. cleanse &  2. Do you even need to cleanse in the first place?

Cleanses Detox-Are They Worth It?

My wife has Cystic Fibrobrosis(CF) and was in the hospital for three days last week.  She had the flu which got the better of her.  An illness like the flu can cripple someone with CF as it affects the lungs and mucus membranes of the body.  My wife has traditionally taken $20,000 of medicine a month throughout her life.  I picked up a recent round at CVS which was rung up for $1,000.  That was her “copay” for two drugs.  Thank goodness for HSA and the wife having a hold on her drugs. “Sorry to hear that Scott, but what are you saying?”   Her CF doctor is one of the top CF doctors in the US.  He deals with it 24/7.  The guy is a machine that really cares about his patients.  I find it ironic that with the amount of drugs that CF patients take to live, that he doesn’t recommend that his patients “do a cleanse”.   Cleanses are not recommended to CF patients nor are they recommended to 99.9% of other patients under a doctors care.   I’ll “leave that there” and let you use some deductive reasoning as to whether or not you should BUY something to help YOU cleanse.

Here’s an short article on the truths about cleanses from Abbott(a pharmaceutical company) and EAS (a supplement company).  EAS Academy Article   These are companies that want to sell you drugs and supplements yet they are against cleanses.

If you read any link on this post, this should be it(below).  It’s  a very unbiased article on cleanses and detox from a company that does blood testing for thousands of clients.  You may THINK  that they are biased since they could be viewed as “selling” blood testing in the article.  They’ve seen a tremendous amount of testing results from real clients.  That’s their business.  They use real food and science to make recommendations to allow their clients to have optimal blood chemistry, which is essential for living and performing at one’s best.  They do not operate their own supplement company and recommend products to customers. There isn’t a  “Hey Scott, since you are low in magnesium, we have this great product that’s been mined from Swiss mountain tops.”  They recommend real foods to eat and real food to avoid given your specific biomarkers.  From my standpoint, why give a MLM (Shakeology, Advocare, Isagenix) consultant $130 a month when you could invest $300 one time on a 20 biomarker blood test and know what YOU specifically need?

After reading this piece,  which was very kind in my opinion on cleansing,  Article on Detox Diets and Cleansing from Insidetracker,  the author was “suggesting” to avoid cleanses versus being forthright.  I’m not wired like that so I’ll be honest and blunt.  SAVE YOUR MONEY!  If you feel that you need to cleanse your body.  Go ahead and do so.  Stop drinking caffeine. Cut out booze.  Stop eating fried and processed food.  Eat raw veggies and eat more fruit.  Drink 100+ oz a water a day.  Do that for a month and let me know how you feel and how much weight that you lost.  I’ll even put on a white lab coat(instant credibility) and talk in a very personable way to connect with you to show you that I’m an expert.  Sorry it won’t be sales copy or on daytime TV.

I just heard about a response via social media to someone who said that “it’s expensive at $300”.  The cleanse seller responded with something like “You have to put it into perspective as to what you are getting out of it!”  $300 to lose water weight!? Sure, where do I sign up?  Check out the pictures below as I give some real world examples of a cleanse in action with someone who IS selling it.

Tim Kurz post  Tim Kurz has authored one of the 10 best sports performance books written in English called the “Science of Sports Training“.  He’s studied internationally in several different forums and schools of thought, specifically Polish Sports Scientist, who learned under the Soviet Sports Science system which was decades ahead of its time.  He’s also an avid lifelong martial artist.

Make Me a Millionaire, Please?

With social media, the influx of people selling and using Shakeology, Isagenix, and Advocare has gotten out of control.  Yes, I went there.  Why? Multi-level marketing(MLM) frankly sucks.  The entire concept is built to fail.  Really?  Yes.  Why? If you are a “soccer” mom selling Shakeology, you try to sell everyone that you know.  But, you aren’t the only one in your local school district or your child’s grade selling it. After you sell to friends and family, who else are you going to sell to? Here’s a detailed explanation of why MLM sucks for everyone outside of the 5% that are successful in doing it.  It’s ironic that they are at the top of the pyramid.  What’s Wrong with MLM?

Here’s a quote from a friend of mine who isn’t an MD.  He’s a highly educated and researched(on nutrition) PhD that also trains real clients.  He also has a passion for strength sports, in which he trains.  This is his response when asked about those selling the MLM products.

You hit the nail on the head–most don’t even know what the hell they are selling. I’ve offered many times in the past to help educate people on basic ingredients in their products at a minimal cost to them (as it makes me feel good).  The catch was that I will tell them what I believe to be the truth (in private) about them. So far, zero people have accepted. I am not in the business to make others look bad but if you sell anything, you better be dam sure you know what the hell it is and does!!”

   –Mike Nelson PhD

This is pretty much the norm when it comes to the criticism of MLM companies.  The Beliebers I mean the “believers” only responses are criticisms of the author.  They don’t respond to the questioning of the science of the “need” for a daily shake that is processed for over $4 a day with anything but passion and weak testimonials.  If you don’t eat breakfast or have a horrible diet, sure, adding in a decent meal(shake) is going to help.  That’s a major reason why other “miracle” drinks have yielded results.  When your diet is terrible, adding any kind of nutrient will make you feel better.

Harriet Hall, who is a retired air force surgeon and MD, authored this piece  which blows up Isagenix which is “scienceee” at best. The responses or should I say the hate,  are the beauty in this piece.

Social Media Miracles

Then there’s the social media miracles, I mean the bullshit, that is social media marketing specifically with MLM companies.  Facebook is filled with women(30-50 yr olds) trolling through their feed on their tablet or smartphone each and every night as they sit on the couch.  Some more some less.  Either way, the MLM seller has learned to tag each and every client so that their friends can see what they are doing.  Given the obsession that is Facebook, I understand how it works.  From a business perspective it’s brilliant.  Here’s an example of a local Pittsburgh woman, whom I know.  If I’m following her social media posts correctly, she’s been working out consistently.  She’s even won a “hard worker” award from her gym which she’s posted about incessantly.  These are her actual pictures and when they were posted by her to Facebook.  I pulled them straight from her Facebook page and tagged them with the dates in which she posted each picture to Facebook which is a key element in the deception.  There are not other any other comments to include like “This was from 6 weeks ago.”.  Just the pictures.   This isn’t someone who is simply posting her “fitness journey”.  This is about her pushing her personal MLM business of selling shakes and cleanses.  I won’t criticize someone for working hard and caring about how they feel and look.  That’s a great thing.  To put yourself out there as an “expert” and someone who runs accountability groups,  and takes the product that you sell which causes you to yo-yo up and down with your weight is ludicrous. There is a difference. People have a hard enough time with weight loss and nutrition, don’t take their money and set them up to fail down the road.

Here’s the progression…

Instead of using the actual pictures and causing more of an uproar I’ll just provide you with the details of the photos that were used to marketing “results”….  I guess “calling out” the progression is a problem despite using Facebook to market your “progress”.  I’m going to post a description of the photo with a progression of the weight and the dates.

6/16/14- Weighted in at 146.4 pounds with a picture of a Shakeology bag next to the scale wearing shorts and socks(that were visible)

7/4/14- Dropped to 139.4 without any shorts/pants on(worth a pound or so) only a picture of the scale.

So she gained back up to almost where she started with the December weight in.

12/4/14- Before/after with a scale pic. 144.6(with close) to 136(no clothes).  The clothes thing is a big deal because it could be 1 lb swing.

1/19/2015-  142.4 (with leggings and socks on) to 136(nothing on legs and no socks)



Final Thoughts

So what happened here?  I’m confused.  The after shots are simply her losing water weight.  Trust me, I know from personal experience in making weight with power lifting and in my experience working with professional mixed martial arts(MMA) fighters and wrestlers. I get paid to drop 5-10 pounds of water weight off of my fighters and people prepping for a photo shoot with “water tricks.

I specifically hear about the shakeology accountability groups.  “It’s not about the products”.  “We share recipes and other stuff”.  How could I ever be upset about that?  A group of people getting healthier,  more fit, and supporting each other is a great thing.   That is not my issue if it really works which is debatable at best.  (Show me some credible research that wasn’t financed by a MLM company and I’ll change my tune.)   If you “cleanse” you will lose weight.  That was covered at nausea in the first part of the article.  What if you are paying $130 a month for a daily shake that is nutritionally average at best and over priced.  What happens after?  That’s where my concerns lie.  You are paying for advice from a “coach” who doesn’t know anything about nutrition or weight loss.  You also are not making lifestyle changes.   Are you going to pay $1560 a year for a morning shake for the rest of your life?!  There are some situation in which you “have to take one for the team”.  If you don’t like vegetables, I’m sorry to tell you that you are going to have a VERY hard time getting the nutrients that you need to maximize “you”.  If you are a vegan (and every version of that) you are going to struggle to get enough protein.  The preparation that it takes to eat certain vegan foods frankly sucks in my opinion, but it is what’s needed to eat that way and why I won’t be going vegan any time soon. I simply don’t have to time or patience to soak beans for hours to acquire my daily needed protein requires.

I see and work with real people everyday as well as thousands over the years.  I see most of the adults struggle with weight loss goals and I see 99% of all clients struggle with their diet/nutrition knowledge.  I’m not against long lasting results.  How could I be? I care about people and their health, hence why I’m in the field.  It sure as hell isn’t for the money.  I and everyone associated with Umberger Performance, every peer that I respect, as well as my mentors, all agree that MLM products and supplements ARE NOT the solution for long term results in both weight loss and health.

Please reconsider being suckered into selling and buying these products. Understand that they are experts in marketing and understanding what “you need”.  These companies are Google on steroids in knowing your online habits.   They know that you’ll loose some water weight or maybe a quick 5-10 lbs and talk about it on social media.  They also stake their entire marketing plan on this continued “snow ball weight loss effect”.  As most of us know(and most of the north eastern US prays for), snow melts as do your short term weight loss gains associates with over priced PRODUCTS.  Products are not the answer. Please stop trying to blend an “investment” into reaching your weight loss or fitness goals.  “Investing” into something doesn’t = long term results. Thats a profound statement for many.  Real food and lifestyle changes will result in long lasting results which will be a healthier and more fit you!  The only investment that will yield long term results are lifestyle changes.